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Should Kentucky Add a Tax on Soft Drinks? About Half of Residents Think So.

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Kentuckians are split when it comes to taxing soft drinks to pay for school nutrition and physical activity programs, according to a poll released Thursday.

The Kentucky Health Issues Poll found that 51 percent of respondents favor taxing soda and sugary drinks.

The poll was funded by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Interact for Health, formerly the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati. (The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is part of the partnership for WFPL’s Next Louisville: Community Health project.)

Most states tax soda purchases, either as an excise tax or included with general sales tax, according to a 2014 report by the Council of State Governments. The idea is to influence consumer choices, promote public health or generate revenue.

Kentucky does not have a specific tax on soda or sugary drinks. Consumers do pay the state’s six percent sales tax on those drinks.

The poll also asked respondents for their opinions about the following health warning label: “Studies show that daily consumption of soda and other sugary drinks contributes to diabetes, obesity and tooth decay.”

Seventy-one percent of Kentucky adults supported requiring the warning label.

The poll was conducted between Oct.  8 and Nov. 6. Researchers from the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati interviewed 1,597 adults throughout Kentucky by telephone.

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Ja'Nel Johnson covers community health for WFPL News.
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